Monday, April 24, 2006

Where have you gone, Dwight Eisehnhower?

That may be a strange question to see on this blog, seeing as my political leanings, especially recently, are towards the liberal/Democrats/Green Party/progressive POV, and Dwight Eisenhower was a conservative. But, while driving across the country to move, I stopped in Abeline, Kansas for a rest break. Knowing the Eisenhower Library and Museum (scroll down the page and click on the Exhibit was in Abeline, I decided to make a short detour. I missed the video that is shown near the gift shop, which I wish I hadn't, but did walk around the grounds a bit.

You may miss it driving down Fourteenth Street, Abeline's "main drag" if you didn't know it was there. But that may have been by design, as Eisenhower was a humble man from a humble background. I walked into the house where he, his parents, and five brothers grew up, it amazed me. Why? Truth be told, the whole house has barely more square footage than my apartment. It was tiny, albeit two floors. The whole family worked their asses off for everything they had.

Did you view the exhibit yet? It explains what I was getting at in the title. While a conservative, Eisenhower was tactful, diplomatic, and astute enough to realize that the Cold War would not have been won by carpet bombing any communist target of choice. He realized that peace was the objective, and worked to achieve it. However, when peace was not possible without conflict, he knew how to target those who attacked and threatened the United States, kick ass, and take names. Also, under his direction, a fair amount of the groundwork for many Civil Rights enjoyed today (until recently) was laid down. One potential negative caveat was the Red (Communist) Scare, but it seems to me like he used high, high level diplomacy to avoid us and the Soviets bombing the crap out of each other. I don't even know if the assclown that's in the Oval Office today even knows how to spell diplomacy, or even level. I think he can spell high though.

In summary, considering I never paid a ton of attention to politics until a few years ago, I was amazed at how Dwight Eisenhower rose all the way from very humble, modest roots in central Kansas (it's as dusty, dry, and desolate as people say, definitely a place that breeds toughness) all the way to the Presidency. Maybe it's just today's pay millions to play political culture that makes me think it would be tough to rise from a working class background to being President (I don't give Democrats a pass on this). But I was amazed at how modest the entire library complex was, it fit Dwight Eisenhower's legacy nicely. Although I would have disagreed with his conservative stance a lot of the time, I would have greatly respected him, and probably have been very proud to call him my President. He warned us of a lot of the dangers facing us today, I only think that if he were alive today, the USA would be a lot less partisan and the key debates would not have been hijacked by those that do so otday, and we would be focused on those who caused us harm.

Camden Yards Was Kind of Fenway South

I went to the game on Saturday, April 8 to see for myself if Camden Yards was Fenway South. It was, sort of. I was expected the Sox fans to be a lot more boisterous than they were, but there were still more of them than there were Orioles fans. A 90 minute late delay at the start, 40 or so degree weather, and a somewhat slow moving game may have all contributed to it. Both my friend Ian and I were late because of construction on the Baltimore / Washington Parkway so the delay helped us a bit.

The game itself moved rather slowly for a 2-1 game, but I enjoyed it a lot. Curt Schilling looked as close to his 2001-034 dominating self as he's been since then. One run in seven innings, I'lll take that. Mile Timlin was okay in the eighth, Jonathan Freaking Papelbon rocked in the ninth. The only negative was Wily Mo Pena, who swung at 6 of the 7 pitches he faced for two strikeouts. Maybe 2 of those were strikes, and I may be generous with that number. He wasn't even coming close to making contact. Why the hell did we trade Bronson Arroyo for this clown?

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Settling in Virginia: So far, so good! But it's not August yet.

I figured now would be a good time to update my blog, seeing as I just got back from a 16 mile or so bike ride down to Mt. Vernon and back (George Washington's Estate, I only rode until the end of the bike path) and need to chill out a bit. I have settled in Northern Virginia, and now work in Lorton, about a half hour south of the Capital Beltway. I seem to be making a good impression there, and am drawing praise already for my efforts. That is always good to hear for obvious reasons.

Anyway, earlier this month I drove from Denver to Alexandria, VA to relocate for a new job. I won't bore you with excessive details, but a cross country drive is always interesting.

Tuesday, April 5: I don't get out of metro Denver until alomst 4 pm, so I didn't get too far into Kansas before deciding I didn't have the energy to drive 100 miles to the next town with a few hotels. So I stayed in Colby, KS. At least the Super 8 was clean, and gas was only $2.50 or so.

Wendesday, April 6: The longest day of the trip, I decided I was going to try to get all the way to Terre Haute, IN. No particular reason behind picking that destination, just Orbitz showing chear hotels. Larry Bird did go to college there, but I wasn't stopping at the campus just because of that, so I wasn't too disappointed when I only got as far as Effignham, IL.

I'm actually going to talk about Kansas for a paragraph, please don't run to antoher web site. :) I figured if I would get pulled over for speeding anywhere on this trip, it would be Kansas, with it being flat, hot, and dusty. Yup, I got pulled over somewhere near mile 220, I am very lucky that the state trooper only wrote me a warning. He asked me where I was going, when I told him I was driving cross country he was cool about it. Whew! Especially since I have no speeding tickets since 1995. I stopped in Abeline, 20 or so miles east of Salina, to rest for a few minutes and to visit the Dwight Eisenhower library, museum, and boyhood home. More about that in a future entry.

Missouri: Gates BBQ in Independence, a KC Suburb, rocked. But what the hell is the deal with their county roads? M, EE, B, V, randomly selected letters, what a mess. I wish I had gotten to St. Louis a couple hours earlier so I could walk around the Arch and the new Busch Stadium. But I didn't. I can't comment much on Illinois since it was either dark or pouring rain when I was there.

Thursday, April 7: I caught a nasty cold in Indianapolis. 40 degree plus driving rain plus I only had a sweatshirt on = bad decision to stop and wander around a bit. Actually, not a bad decision, Indy has a very cool downtown. You walk under an old warehouse turned into a bridge, and you're in an old-school downtown with lots of cool, tall buildings moxed with some new, chic, offices. The north? side of downtown ends with a traffic circle with a memorial dedicated to Indiana's Civil War particiapnts in the middle. I enjoyed my brief stay in Indy, wish it could have been longer. Drove to Morgantown, West Virginia, which was okay. I wasn't expecting a tunnel through Wheeling, but it didn't look like I missed much but a couple of steep hills on the sides of I-70 and I-470. I-79 from Washington, PA to Morgantown reminded me of a foothills road in Colorado more than an interstate.

Friday, April 7: Only 3-4 hours of driving left, exactly as I intended, so I could arrive in Virginia, get my apartment keys, and unload my car before rush hour. I-68 through Western Maryland was a pleasant surprise, very picturesque, or it would have been if it wasn't pouring rain. I saw more rain on this trip than I'd see in Colorado in eight months. 40 mph speed limit too on an interstate, through Cumberland, and old mill and river town. The only other time I'd seen a speed limit under 50 mph on an interstate was Glenwood Canyon, CO. The rest of thr drive was uneventful.

I've been here a bit more than two weeks, and am happy so far. I live a mile from the Metro system, close enough to walk but not too close that rents skyrocket. My commute to work is 14-15 miles each way, more than I would like, especially with gas prices. However, I am going against the traffic on Route 1 (until the 30,000 or so people are tansferred to Ft. Belvoir) in both the morning and afternoon. Also, I decided that living right near work, in Woodbridge , Dale City, or even Lorton, would really limit my social life (I have one? ;). I'd be too far away from everything I like to do in my spare time, too far away from the city, you name it.

I went hiking at Sugarloaf Mountain in Maryland last Sunday, and really enjoyed getting out in the outdoors to relax and get some exercise. I won't be able to hike as much here as I did in Denver because of travel distance and gas prices, so I appreciate every opportunity to hike even more. But I can still go from time to time. The trade off of less hiking and skiing for a permanent job opportunity, a chance to further build my career with the same company, and be a 90 minute flight away from my family? I'll make that trade and am glad I did, even though Denver was fun. But ask me how glad I am to be here in August when it's 95 degrees and humid for the 41st straight day.

Monday, April 03, 2006

No More Hammer, Thank Freaking God!

While making one final cruise through the Big Soccer boards before closing up for my move, Dave posted some of the best news I've heard in a long time. tom delay is dropping out of his district's Congressional race in Texas ( This is great news! No more of his shady backroom dealings in too mnay places to mention, no more golf outings on taxpayers' dime (at least not by him), I could go on for an hour but I need to pack for tomorrow's move. At least the Hammer is no more, I won't speculate as to what is next other than I see him facing some sort of criminal charges very shortly.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Is Camden Yards Really Fenway Park South?

I will find out Saturday, and maybe Sunday, as I attend the Red Sox - Orioles game(s) at Camden Yards. I have been to Camden once before, I saw Seattle beat the Os 1-0 in a classic game in September 2001, Cal Ripken's last season. I love the ballpark, even though getting out of there was a big-time clusterf*, just below the old Foxboro Stadium on the clusterf list (I have not been to Gillette Stadium so I won't comment about leaving there).

Now, as a lifelong Red Sox fanatic, I cannot wait to see my team in Camden Yards. I understand that so many Sox fans either live in the area/travel from New England to the games that they turn the park into essentially Fenway Park South. Jim Rome had a half segement devoted to this last year, when David Wells got a standing ovation after leaving the game, even though he was the visiting team's starting pitcher. This will be the first time I experience a Sox-Os game in Baltimore for myself. I'm looking forward to it and then some. Although I must say as a baseball fan it's sad to see what mismanagement has done to the Orioles franchise. The Oriole Way doesn't exist anymore, that's for sure.

Moving Again: All Good Things Must Come To An End

For the 2.5 people who actually read this and probably know this anyway, all good things must come to an end. I moved to Denver in May of 2002: having lived in Massachusetts for all of my 27 plus years of my existence, I needed to get out on my own. Denver had what I was looking for, tons of skiing and hiking to do in my spare time, a pleasant climate, a mellow vibe, and it was a lot cheaper to live in then Boston. That last point came in really handy while I was trying to get back into the IT industry.

I did eventually make my way back into IT as a Market Systems Analyst until my market was consolidated. That's all I feel comfortable saying on a blog other than this happened weeks after I moved into the current apartment. Shit. I was able to land a temp job with the possibility of it going perm, but....

I got an email one morning from another market in my old company. Again, I don't feel comfortable saying too much, but I received, and accepted, an offer to move to Alexandria, Virginia to take my old job in a new, much larger market. I leave Denver on Tuesday afternoon after the movers leave and I take care of some final business. It will be a sad momemnt when I drive the legendary Colfax Avenue on the way out of town. However, it will be a very happy moment when I pull into Alexandria on Friday.

In a nutshell, I'm looking forward to returing to my east coast roots, although it will be tough to leave Colorado. I have a bigger and better opportunity awaiting me in Virginia. I won't be able to hike and ski as often, but if gas gets close to $3 again this summer, I'd have to practically give up hiking anyway. But you have to give up something to get something in that giant give/take relationship called life. I am relocating to take a job that I have worked and feel comfortable with in a much larger area than before (I consider it a promotion because of the market size). My family is doing cartwheels (figuratively), and I'm glad I'll be a 90 minute flight away from them as opposed to an oddesy that almost always involved circling Lake Michigan to land at O'Hare Airport for a stopover. The only regret I have about Denver is I spent too much time living on the fringes of suburbia and not enough time in city neighboorhoods like here. But I'm leaving a good situation for a better one, seeing as I had no guarantees of permanent work with benefits in Denver.

Finally, before you tell me Alexandria is a suburb, the Huntington Metro station is a mile from my apartment so I can be a city boy in 20 minutes anytime I want. :D